A warehouse execution system is software that manages, optimizes and directs the physical work processes (picking, receiving, replenishment, etc.) in a warehouse or distribution center. A WES typically integrates with a warehouse management system (WMS), enterprise resource planning system (ERP) or other inventory management software.
Warehouse execution systems have been around in various forms since the early 2000s. They provide DCs with flexible and efficient material handling processes – both automated and manual. While WMS systems typically include system-directed picking, replenishment and other functions, WES systems add sophisticated process optimization capabilities. WES vastly improve the productivity, efficiency and throughput of core DC activities. WES systems take two main forms – automated WES and manual WES.
Automated Warehouse Execution System
Many of today’s WES products evolved from an existing warehouse control system (WCS). WCS software controls conveyors, sorters and other warehouse automation that move totes, cases and pallets within a facility. In effect, automated warehouse execution systems combine a WCS with a layer of work planning, release and management capabilities. They coordinate and synchronize the handling and movement of products via automation. Some WES products may also manage pick-to-light or put-to-light systems, but they typically do not direct the work performed by people. Instead, most WES systems defer to a WMS or other system to direct manual picking and other processes.
Manual Warehouse or Work Execution Systems
The Lucas Work Execution software solution is a WES that is designed to optimize the manual, hands-on activities that predominate in most DCs. It also coordinates and orchestrates the activities of human workers alongside autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). Lucas Work Execution uses AI and advanced modeling technology to optimize workflows and processes. It also includes multi-modal mobile applications that improve the mechanics of hands-on tasks using voice direction, speech recognition, barcode scanning, display technology and other mobile technologies. Lucas Work Execution supplements a DC’s inventory planning system (WMS or other) and complements existing WCS (and automated WES) systems.